COMMENTARY | This morning all the media rage is about the police video of George Zimmerman, the man who shot to death teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Zimmerman’s gated Sanford, Fla., community. It reminds me of a bullying/racist act I witnessed years ago.
The newly released video shows Zimmerman, unblemished, in police custody shortly after the shooting.
Zimmerman’s father told Fox News Orlando that Martin slammed Zimmerman’s head into the ground and beat him prior to Zimmerman shooting the teenager.
Zimmerman, for his admitted involvement in Martin’s death, is America’s new favorite pariah, perceived to be guilty in some public discussion of a heinous crime. “I, personally, really truly believe this is a hate crime,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) to CNN.
The Miami Herald is reporting that police in Sanford wanted to arrest Zimmerman, but the local prosecutor backed off until more evidence could be gathered. Police wanted to charge Zimmerman with the shooting death of Martin, not a hate crime. Zimmerman is being vilified as a neighborhood watch, racist, bully by Waters and others.
Hate crimes are abhorrent in any way, shape or form. They are so terrible that the FBI keeps a database about them.
We have the opportunity to live in a country, considered the leader of the free world, where hate crimes still need to be tracked. Ah, the lengths some people go to practice their freedom! Six-thousand and eight people in 2010 to be exact, according to FBI statistics. But that is better than 8,935 known offenders the FBI reported in 1996, the first year of statistics available on their website.
All those who have never witnessed hate or bullying, please raise your hand.
In August 1981 around noon, I was driving an 18-wheeler and and making a delivery to a warehouse outside of Mobile, Ala. It was hot and the loading dock was outdoors. There were three young men in their 20s standing by to assist.
As I had my paperwork signed by the supervisor, I noticed a 50-plus-year-old black man dressed in a brown warehouse uniform approaching. Sweat dripped down his freighted face. I walked off the dock toward my cab when I heard a mumble and then a command in response of “Boy, you cain’t go to lunch. You gotta keep on working.”
I turned and saw the man walk away, with slumped shoulders. As he left, I heard the supervisor say to the other two men, “That stupid (n-word) has been here since 6 this morning. He ain’t gonna say anything. Let’s go to lunch.” And they laughed. I will never forget the raw hate and shame I saw that day. I was stunned.
The Trayvon Martin story is shame. The on-going hateful accusations may be more shameful in the end.
Only Zimmerman and Martin know what really happened in Sanford last month. One is dead and the other is hiding because he fears for his life. ABC News reports there is 13-year-old witness who may corroborate Zimmerman’s self-defense story.